David Brooks, famous dichotomist, meditates on the health care proposal Hillary Clinton.  This is to say that he uses the anecdotes of a political opponent some 15 years ago to describe her as "icy" (three times in 700 some words) and nameless sources to describe her "evil look."  The column is an abomination for other reasons as well, not the least of which is the fact that Brooks accuses Clinton–Hillary Clinton I say–of being "Manichean."  Up until recently for David Brooks, being Manichean about matters of right and wrong was a virtue.  No longer:

Moreover, the debate Clinton is having with Barack Obama echoes the debate she had with Cooper 15 years ago. The issue, once again, is over whether to use government to coerce people into getting coverage. The Clintonites argue that without coercion, there will be free-riders on the system.

They’ve got a point. But there are serious health care economists on both sides of the issue. And in the heat of battle, Clinton has turned the debate between universal coverage and universal access into a sort of philosophical holy grail, with a party of righteousness and a party of error. She’s imposed Manichaean categories on a technical issue, just as she did a decade and half ago. And she’s done it even though she hasn’t answered legitimate questions about how she would enforce her universal coverage mandate.

Gee.  If Ms. Clinton has a point about mandates, then why doesn't David Brooks talk about it?  After all, that would be the foundation, so it seems (since she has a point) of Hillary Clinton's position.  Instead of a policy discussion (which, agree or disagree, you will have with Paul Krugman), Brooks treats his readers to, ironically, a little "politics of personal destruction."   

3 thoughts on “Iceman”

  1. Hmmmmm…..

    _They accused him of crafting his plan in order to raise money from the insurance and hospital industries. They said he was in league with the for-profit hospitals to crush competitors and monopolize the industry. They did this despite the fact that Cooper’s centrist health care approach was entirely consistent with his overall philosophy._

    Okay, even if Brooks is correct about these accusations, he offers no evidence to show they were unfounded, which is what seems to assert in the closing sentence. Why is Cooper’s approach “centrist?” What is his “overall philosophy?” How are the two “consistent?” Other than the assertaion earlier in the article that Cooper’s plan is free of mandates, Brooks doesn’t really parse Cooper’s plan–he just maligns Senator Clinton’s supposedly mean-spirited stance on Cooper’s bill and acts if that alone is proof enough of its validity.

    It’s not even a “he said, she said” piece; it’s just a “he said,” where Cooper is given the benefit of the doubt, despite Brooks’ providing the merest scrap of evidence for the practicality of Cooper’s plan, and Senator Clinton is given none.

  2. I am starting to think that “David Brooks” does not really exist; instead he is a fictitious front for a research project being conducted by a group of philosophy PhD candidates. They are trying to see how many logical fallacies they can get accepted as legitimate political commentary if packaged properly.

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